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China should be on guard against Philippines' S. China Sea 'plot'

(People's Daily Online)

08:28, July 05, 2012

A spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on July 1 that the armed forces will work together with the Philippine Coast Guard to ensure the safety of Philippine fishermen returning to the disputed Huangyan Island waters. With the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting right around the corner, the Philippines is sparing no effort to stir up the South China Sea issue through all sorts of means, and China should be on guard against its plot.

In recent years, a few countries such as the Philippines have been taking advantage of the annual ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to stoke tensions over the South China Sea issue. One of the main reasons is that the summit is attended by the representatives of ASEAN member states and also senior diplomats from dialogue partners such as China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

The United States said in a regional meeting in Hanoi in 2010 that territorial disputes in the South China Sea had a bearing on U.S. national interests, indicating its interest in intervening in the South China Sea issue. Tensions have been rising over the issue. During the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, in 2011, the Philippines once more put forward an unpractical proposal for resolving the South China Sea issue, which broke an agreement between ASEAN and China, and disturbed the original agenda of the summit.

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is not the right platform to discuss the South China Sea issue. China and ASEAN have many issues concerning mutual cooperation and development to resolve through negotiations. It would be unwise to discuss the South China Sea issue at the summit while shelving other major issues.

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